June 29, 2012

Fun Friday: Goals Achieved

This was me upon finishing my book on Saturday.
Just kidding. This was actually me.

The last several weeks, those of you who are friends with me on Facebook or Twitter* may have noticed I’ve been talking a lot about revising and editing.

That’s because that’s been my world lately.

And you know what? I love it!

There’s something awesome about taking something that’s broken and fixing it. It’s a challenge to piece it together just so, but in the end, when you have a complete product, it’s so worth it.

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to write a novel. Many dream it, few actually do it. It was awesome to reach that first milestone of writing “The End” late last year. (And yes, I actually wrote it. Oops.)

In the last year, I’ve also had my first writing rejections, my first beta reader critiques, and my first contest results feedback.

That was rough.

But totally worth it. Because now, here I am.

I FINALLY put the finishing touches on my novel. (Well, for now. You all know how it is.)

Happy dance!!!!

My husband and I celebrated with ice cream. Yep, ice cream is a must in my celebrations.

And now, I think I’ll celebrate this milestone with a weeklong blogging break. I’ll be back Monday, July 9. Have a happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Your Turn: What’s a major goal you’ve achieved in the past or want to achieve in the future? How do you celebrate a major goal achieved?

*By the way, if we aren’t connected, we should be! See how to connect with me on the right side of the screen.

June 27, 2012

Names of God: The Lord Our Rock


I’ve always been a dreamer.

And my dreams? They ain’t little.

No, when I was young, I dreamed of being President.

Well, I don’t want that job anymore, but I am dreaming of another profession with the power to influence: published author.

And ever since I was itty bitty, I’ve been preparing myself for that. Constructing a world around myself that’s comfortable. That has everything I need to be a successful writer.

I’ve got the knowledge (though that’s still growing!), in the form of journalism and English degrees.

I’ve got the tools, like craft books and a computer.

I’ve got a blog, connections with other writers, memberships in writers’ groups, etc. etc.

But I’ve realized something.

Much as I’ve attempted to build the perfect life for myself, without God as my foundation, I will sink. Because The Lord Our Rock will sustain us if we let Him.

Imagine I’m building a real house. I have all the knowledge to build this house. I’ve got all the tools, like concrete and wood and nails. I’ve even got some help from others.

But what if I have a few choices for where to build this house? One place is low in a valley, with no trees surrounding and just beautiful open land.

The other is at the top of a mountain. It’s narrow and would mean I’d have a hard time bringing all the tools up there. In fact, I decide the mountain is too high, too far, and too challenging to get to.

So I build my house in the valley.

And I move there. Unpack all of my boxes and settle in. I’m happy. And I’ve got the coolest writing nook around.

But then, I start to realize something. My new location lacks a few things that perhaps the mountain home would have given me, things like shelter, shade, and safety.

Shelter
I’m out in the open, exposed and vulnerable to attack by who knows what…ferocious animals like Doubt and Temptation lurk about and charge my stronghold, which ironically turns out to be quite weak.

At this point, I’m a bit jealous of the mountain dwellers, because they’ve got a fortress for a location. They’ve got the high ground.

Shade
The hot sun beats down on my cheeks, scorching my pale skin. That’s what I get for not taking the time to build a house where there are more trees.

Safety
When storms rage outside my house—the house I so proudly built for myself—I become a bit worried about how safe we are.

And then, the unthinkable happens. We start to sink.

How is it possible I built my house on quicksand when it had seemed so firm in the first place? All it took was the rain ravaging it for me to see just how unstable my home is.

I squint up at the mountain. It’s standing strong. Unaffected by the storm. 

That song I learned as a kid…it applies to me.

“The wise man built his house upon the rock…”

No, not that part.

The part that follows.

The part about the fool.

“The foolish man built his house upon the sand…”

Yep, that part.

The fool is the one who builds her life based on her own dreams instead of the ones God has for her.

Your Turn: What other dangers lurk when we don’t build our lives on The Lord Our Rock?

*Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

June 25, 2012

Made to Crave

A month or so ago, I heard a radio broadcast in which the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa TerKeurst, was interviewed about her book Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food.

She explained how she’d tried losing weight several times in her life, how sometimes she’d succeed, other times fail. How it was all a vicious cycle. How she continually felt defeated by her lack of willpower when it came to food.

I perked up.

Because I’ve felt the same way.

See, I’m super disciplined when it comes to most areas of my life: work, school (when I had it), social life, church service, etc.

But not when it comes to food.

It’s the area where I let myself slack off. Where I may have a fierce determination but then let go in a moment of weakness. Or boredom. Or tears.

As I listened to the interview and learned more about the book, I decided I had to read it.

The premise of the book is basically that we all have cravings. In fact, God designed us with a craving: for Him. But we fill it with other things, like food.

In fact, if we’re not careful, food can become an idol, a sort of twisted deity in our lives.

We seek comfort from it.
Like when I have a bad day and my first instinct is to stop by Dairy Queen for an Oreo Blizzard.

We make it a priority, maybe even rearrange our schedule around it.
Like when I promised myself (and God) I’d read my Bible or write on my lunch break, but my coworkers are going out to Chipotle, and that sounds so yummy. Much better than the salad I packed.

We think about it and meditate on it.
Like when work is super stressful but just the thought of the awesome pizza I have for lunch is enough to brighten my day and get me through.

As I am reading this book, I’m realizing how much power I’ve let food have over my life. Maybe that sounds silly to you. But the word “food” could be replaced with any number of nouns: TV/movies, books, significant other, achievements, work.

Basically, anything that trumps God in your life.

Because I should be getting my comfort from Him. When I’ve had a bad day, my first source of consolation should be found in His Word and in prayer.

And He should be my priority. Spending time with Him should be the first thing I set daily in stone.

And I should be thinking about Him all day. He should be the one to strengthen me. I should be meditating on His Word and on the joy and freedom found in knowing Him.

One mantra that TerKeurst repeats throughout the book is “You were made for more than this.”

So, I was made for more than to be defined by how much I weigh.

I was made for more than to sit on the sidelines, wishing for a better attitude, when prayer would do wonders.

And I was made for more than to be controlled by my cravings and ruled by guilt.

I was made for more.

I was made for Him.

Your Turn: Fill in the blank: I was made for more than ________________________.

June 22, 2012

The Regret of Sitting on the Sidelines

That's me, bustin' a move. Or hurting myself.

When I was 8 years old, I let some scraggly kid ruin what could have been a glorious future.

See, my parents enrolled me in a jazz dance class. For fun. And I loved the idea.

Until I saw Kyle Z. there.

He was in my first-grade class in school. He was icky. And he wanted to dance next to me and tease me.

All. Class. Long.

So, brilliant kid that I was, I raised my hand and said I didn’t feel well. Problem solved.

Every week.

When my parents saw what appeared to be my lack of interest, they didn’t sign me up for dance again.

Okay, so I got to thinking about all of this last night, when I attended a Zumba class at my gym. *

Because last night, I was reminded…this girl caaaaan’t daaaaaance.

Well, I’ve got rhythm…just no grace.

I started wondering what would have happened if I’d have stuck with that jazz class.

I mean, I coulda been a dancer. A star.

Instead, I just got a sore rear from sitting on the sidelines.

The adult me wants to go back and yell at the 8-year-old me, “Hey, I really want to know how to dance well, so suck it up and go stand next to the icky boy.”

I mean, being a dancer would have really helped me to be that triple threat (singing, acting, dancing) I always longed to be when auditioning for musicals.

But alas, I can’t go back.

I’ve just gotta learn from it, not sit out in the future when I want to join in.

So maybe I’ll never be on So You Think You Can Dance?, but I’ll do the Funky Chicken and Electric Slide with the best of ‘em.

Or at least have fun looking incredibly silly.

Your Turn: Is there something you wish you were good at that…well, you’re just not? Or ever have some regret you’re just dying to lament about here? Any other wannabe dancers out there? Have you tried Zumba? Do you like it?

*For those who don’t know, Zumba is a cool workout class that incorporates Latin dance moves.
**Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

June 20, 2012

Names of God: Holy One of Israel

Last Sunday, I had the privilege of singing in the praise band at church, and we led one of my favorite songs:

We raise up holy hands, to praise the Holy One,
Who was and is and is to come.

But now I’m sitting here, reflecting on the lyrics, and I’m realizing something.

I don’t think I really “get” holiness.

Sure, I know that holiness means being unique, set apart from sin. But those are just words. What does it look like? And are my hands really holy? Worthy to be raised to praise the Holy One?

Uh, no.

But in His mercy, God gave us Jesus, who bridged the gap for us so that God could tolerate us and our sin.

And here’s where the meaning of holiness gets really foggy to me. Because I’ve been told over and over again that God is my friend. He’s my Daddy. He’s my Counselor and my Shepherd. All of these roles are ones in which He’s close to me. We’re tight. I tell Him everything. He cares. About me.

And I get comfortable with that. I pal around with God and talk smack to Him and pat Him on the back. If God had a cell phone, I’d text Him. A lot.

That’s all well and good, except for one major thing.

I forget His holiness.

I forget that He is Creator of the universe. King. Lord. So high above me I shouldn’t even be able to see Him.

So beautiful, so magnificent, I’d be blinded if I looked upon His face.

So powerful that He has the ability to speak light into the world with one breath.

This is my friend, yes. He’s my Daddy, yes. My Counselor, my Shepherd.

But before He was any of that, He was the Holy One of Israel.

Matchless.

Perfect.

Holy.

Your Turn: What are your thoughts on the holiness of God? How can we strike a balance between relationship and reverence?

*Photo by Arvind Balaraman

June 18, 2012

Lucky Number Seven


Tag, I’m it!

Yes, I’ve been tagged by my awesome friend Jessica Patch in the Lucky 7 Meme. I don’t really know what “meme” means, but here are the rules (some of which I might break…):

Thank the person who tagged you.

Thank you, Jess. You’re beautimous and I lub you!

Okay, and the rest of the directions:

Go to page 77 in my current manuscript.

Go to line 7.

Copy the next 7 lines/paragraphs and post them as they're written (no cheating!).

I’m also supposed to pass the meme on to 7 other writers, but um, yeah, not gonna call people out specifically. However, if you want to participate in your own blog, be sure to let me know when and I’ll stop by!

Okay, so here is the passage from my current ms, Defining Grace.

It’s contemporary fiction with elements of women’s fiction, romance, and suspense.


“Well, why do you have to date someone who’s just like you, anyway? Don’t they say opposites attract?”
Grace twirled her hair and chewed her lip. “Yeah, but my parents have always said we shouldn’t be unequally yoked.”
“Unequally what?”
“Yoked. Like with oxen.” Jordan stared blankly at her and shrugged. She sighed. “It just means you shouldn’t marry someone who doesn’t believe the same things as you. It’s hard to make decisions and stuff when you don’t agree on the basics of life.”
“Whoa, whoa, hold up.” Jordan held up his hands and shook his head. “I’m not asking anyone to marry me. I’m not sure I’ll even ever get married. I’m just talking about going to a party together.”
Grace shifted her position. “I know, but my parents have always said that ‘Every date is a potential mate.’”
Jordan laughed. “Well, that’s not been my experience. There are plenty of girls I’ve dated who I would never marry. They’d probably cheat on me and take all my money. They were just hot. And we had fun together.” He cocked his head. “Besides, do you always do everything your parents tell you to?”

Your Turn: Do you have a lucky or favorite number? Mine’s 11, because I was born in November. Creative, right? If you do, what is it and why is it your lucky number?

*Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

June 15, 2012

Fun Friday: An Interview with Myself on the Occasion of My 100th Blog Post

Hello, folks, and welcome to Lindsay Harrel’s blog, which turns 100 posts old today!

[Audience: Cheers]

I’m your hostess, Lindsay #1. Today I have the cool privilege of interviewing Lindsay #2, the normal author of this blog. Yes, it’s been hijacked. (And no, I did not call myself Lindsay #1 because I think I’m better. Much. It was just, uh, more convenient. Yeah, that’s it.)

Lindsay #2 and I thought it would be oh so delightful for me to ask her some questions about her writing and this blog.

I’ll label what each of us say so you don’t get confused (though I don’t know how you could possibly confuse us…I’m the pretty one).

Lindsay #2: Hey! That’s not very nice.

Lindsay #1: Oops, hehe, just kidding, of course. So, Lindsay, this is your 100th blog post. How do you feel?

Lindsay #2: Exhausted. Haha, kidding, kidding. But really, I’m just so amazed that I made it this far. And the time really flew by! I started blogging back in September, but wasn’t super consistent until November. Now I blog three times a week, and whaddaya know? I really enjoy it, and people out there actually read this thing!

Lindsay #1: Remember those days when you would get no comments? Haha, that was funny.

Lindsay #2: Again, not very nice.

Lindsay #1: What? You know I love you like a sister or something.

Lindsay #2: Yeah, or something.

Lindsay #1: Anyway, has this blog accomplished what you have hoped it would? What was your vision when you started out?

Lindsay #2: Good question. I—

Lindsay #1: It was a good question, wasn’t it?

Lindsay #2: Uh, do you want me to answer or not?

Lindsay #1: Sheesh, always wanting to be the center of attention. What a diva. Alright, go on.

Lindsay #2: Gee, thanks so much. Anyway, this blog started out as a way for me to get serious about being a writer, kind of like a formal statement saying, “I’m doing this!” I thought I’d chronicle my adventures of writing and so on. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I really didn’t have a whole lot to say! Well, I had stuff to say, but it wasn’t really news to anyone but a newbie author—my early writing posts are a bit laughable, really, talking about how awesome character sheets are and how attending a conference is so cool. Thank you to all of you patient friends who put up with those!

Lindsay #1: Yeah, like me. (Well, they WERE pretty laughable.) Soooo…what changed?

Lindsay #2: Well, I started to think about who I wanted my readers to be, both on my blog and my future book readers. It got me thinking—while I would surely have some readers who were also writers, not all would be. But most would likely be Christian or at least somewhat interested in faith issues, if they’d picked up an inspirational fiction book—so I kind of re-evaluated what I wanted to write posts about. Now I do a mixture of topics related to writing, faith, and life stuff, but most of it has a spiritual slant to it.

Lindsay #1: Yeah, except for days like today. Ha! So how is the writing life going?

Lindsay #2: I love it. I love the actual writing, the revising, even the feedback…once I get over the heartache and have some ice cream. LOL.

Lindsay #1: Did you actually just laugh out loud, or are you being facetious?

Lindsay #2: I guess you’ll never know…

Lindsay #1: Darn it, you know how I hate not knowing everything about everyone! Sigh. So, Lindsay, what’s been the coolest thing you’ve discovered since starting your writing journey last fall?

Lindsay #2: Thanks for asking, Lindsay. Hands down, it’s been the awesome people I’ve met in the writing community. I mean, I’ve never met most of them in person, but I consider them close friends already. We tweet, Facebook message, text, and email. And several other Christian writers (regardless of whether they are in the same boat as me, have agents, or are published) have come alongside me and encouraged me, critiqued my stuff, and given me advice. Thank you, thank you, thank you to each and every one of you! Muah!

Lindsay #1: Hey, what about me? I’ve been here with you through thick and thin.

Lindsay #2: Uh sure. Thanks for doing this interview today. You’ve been bugging me long enough to let you post something on the blog. Although truth be told, you’ve been rather—

Lindsay #1: And I’m afraid we’re all out of time today, folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed this admittedly bizarre interview with the lovely Lindsay #2. I’m your host, the even lovelier Lindsay #1, wishing you happy Fun Friday!

Your Turn: Okay, Lindsay #2 here. I’ve managed to regain control of my blog again. Lest you think I’m completely insane, here’s a serious question for you: Do you blog? If so, how long have you been at it? What’s the most fun post you’ve ever written? If you don’t blog (or if you do and you’d prefer to answer this question), what’s one of your favorite blogs and why?

*Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

June 13, 2012

Names of God: Yahweh Nissi

Every year at Christmastime, my church puts on a large production, complete with music, a play, and lights.

And in that show, there is usually a manger scene, where shepherds, wise men, and angels come to worship the newborn king.

During this part of the production, some of the actors bust out these banners. They’re huge and decorative, but that’s not why they catch my eye.

They catch my eye because they shout, “King of Kings!” and “Lord of Lords!”

Something lights in my soul when I see those banners proclaiming such truth.

Banners have another use as well, especially in battle.

In Ann Spangler’s Praying the Names of God, she says that “a banner carried at the head of an army or planted on a high hill [serves] as a rallying point for troops … Because they [embody] the ideas and aspirations of whoever carried them, banners [arouse] devotion to a nation, a cause, or a leader.”

So let me ask: What banner are you flying?

It’s crucial for us to know the answer to this question, because our banner stands between us and the battles in our life.

Who does your banner embody?

Is it Yahweh Nissi (The Lord My Banner)?

Or is it someone—or something—else?

If it’s Yahweh Nissi, then there’s no need to fear the battle, whether it be with actual enemies like those who want to harm us, or with confused souls who mock our faith, or even with the sin that tries to overtake us.

His banner strikes fear into the hearts of our enemies—but only if we hold it up.

Are we living the kinds of lives worthy of The Lord Our Banner? Are we representing Him well? Are we doing all we can to fight sin in the name of our King?

Or have we decided the banner is too heavy to carry? That we no longer believe what it stands for? Have we simply grown lazy, complacent?

Or are we running from the battle, afraid?

Be encouraged! His banner goes before you.

Fear not, because HE goes before you.

Your Turn: How has the Lord been Yahweh Nissi in your life?

June 11, 2012

The Toughest Weeds

On Saturday, my husband and I got up at 6 am to do yard work.

Yeah, I know. Exciting.

I had the wonderful task of pulling weeds in the side yard, which is full of rocks.

Some of the weeds were easy peasy. They came up just like that. One pull and they were toast.

Others took a few good yanks. I had to put a little bit of oomph into it.

And still others had taken root so deep that I struggled, and struggled, and still struggled to get them free of the dirt.

With some of these, I got the surface part torn away, but the root remained. I’ll have to get them next time, after they’ve re-grown.

And some I never got up at all. I gave up. I had to. My fingers burned in the attempt. My leg muscles quivered.

Frankly, it was too tiring, too much work, to get them up and outta there.

Okay, so why am I telling you all of this?

Because even though I was half asleep as I yanked at the weeds, God used it to speak spiritual truth to me.

He’s pretty cool like that.

We’ve all probably heard the analogy that weeds are like sin. They grow up next to the good things and choke the life out of our spiritual walk.

So those weeds that came up like that? They’re like the “little sins” in our lives, the ones that are occasional or that we don’t really make a habit of. Sins that, if we really focused on ridding our lives of them, we’d likely succeed with the help of God and possibly friends.

But those tougher weeds—aka more habitual sins, things like pride, or gossip, or pornography, or whatever—well, it takes a lot more focus to rid our lives of those.

Here are some principles I learned while actually weeding that I can apply to my spiritual life:

You have to build certain muscles to get the tougher weeds up. Spiritual muscles like praying, and hiding God’s Word in your heart, and fellowshipping with other believers.

You absolutely have to dig out the roots, or the weed will keep returning. In other words, sometimes it’s not enough to eliminate the surface part of the sin. You have to go deep enough to figure out what’s causing the sin. (I’ve heard that the root of most, if not all, sins is pride. Interesting thought.)

Once you’ve pulled the larger weeds, the smaller ones don’t seem so tough. By ridding our lives of the deeper, larger sins, often the smaller or less habitual ones become easier to get rid of. It’s really more about daily relying on Jesus than anything else. Once you’re in the habit, it’s harder for Satan to gain a foothold.

Using resources available to you, like weed killer and a rake, makes pulling up the weeds a whole lot easier. To get rid of sin, use the spiritual resources we’ve been given, like prayer, the Bible, and other believers who can support you and keep you accountable.

The more often you weed, the less chance weeds have of taking root. Likewise, the more often we confess our sins and focus on living holy before the Lord, the less likely a sin is to take root in our heart.

Your Turn: Any other ways that getting rid of real weeds is like getting rid of spiritual ones?

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

June 8, 2012

Fun Friday: Shoe Heaven

Warning: This blog post could prove hazardous to the recovering shoe shopaholic’s health. Do not read—I repeat, do not read—if you have a “problem” with shoe shopping. Just back away slowly. I am in no way responsible if you relapse.

I’ll admit it.

I love shopping.

Due to budget and time constraints, I rarely GO shopping, but I do love finding that perfect item—even if I wasn’t looking for it!

Sometime in the next week, I get to go shoe shopping, because, well, the situation has become desperate. I mean, it’s summer and my wardrobe is running thin in regards to open-toed shoes I can wear to work. Disastrous!

So where do I plan to head?

DSW. Otherwise known as Shoe Heaven.

If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a DSW nearby, well, I’m sorry. That’s all I can really say. It’s a wonderful store chock full of…you guessed it…every type of shoe you can think of (some hideous, some beautiful, some in between).

I’d love to find some practical, comfortable shoes for work and also maybe some fun ones to wear with jeans.

You never know what you’re gonna find at DSW…

I can’t wait to start my search!

Your Turn: Are you a shoe person? Do you live near a DSW? And what’s your favorite pair of shoes you own or have owned in the past?

June 6, 2012

Names of God: Yahweh Roi

Well, you might as well know. I mean, if you’re going to read my blog, you should know the truth about me, right?

I confess: I’m a self-righteous sheep.

Yep, you heard me.

I sit there in my pasture and look around at all the other sheep around me. I see one going this direction, one going that direction, wandering off the path, and I think, “What idiots. They really should know better.”

Well, maybe I’m not as harsh as all that.

But I sometimes think, “Our poor shepherd. He’s got so much work with all these stupid sheep wandering off.”

That’s when I realize it.

I look around, and no longer do I see any other sheep. I’m alone, in a different pasture.

I’m lost. How did I get here?

I start to quiver. My wool stands on end. There, out of the corner of my eye, it lurks.

A wolf.

I have to get out of here. But how? Which way to turn? I don’t know left from right.

I’m going to die. Right here.

And I thought they were stupid.

The wolf charges. I bleat. I run. I’m no match for him. He’s got me by the throat and there’s not a thing I can do on my own to stop him.

And then, He comes.

My Shepherd.

He charges the wolf, unafraid. He uses His staff to throw the wolf from me as if he weighs nothing. The wolf’s teeth do not alarm my Shepherd. My hero.

The wolf retreats, tail between his legs.

I want to run to my Shepherd, but I’m embarrassed. Why did he come for me? Why did he leave the others behind? Just for me?

It makes no sense.

None.

And yet it’s true.

Yahweh Roi has come to rescue me.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” (Psalm 23:1)

Your Turn: How has God been the Good Shepherd in your life?

*Today I’m hanging out over at Jill Kemerer’s blog, where I’m answering Five Easy Questions. I’d love for you to stop by and say hi!

**Photo by Simon Howden

June 4, 2012

Fighting for Contentment

Day in and day out, I live with a certain truth: Today, I will have to fight for contentment.

It’s a strange thought, isn’t it?

Contentment is this nebulous thing that we all want, but it always seems to be just out of reach. Sometimes, we can attain it temporarily…and we think life will be just dandy from then on.

Wrong-o.

What is it about our culture? Why are we never satisfied with what we have?

And I’m not just talking material satisfaction, although that’s certainly there: If only I could have THAT car…if only I could have THAT house….if only I was making THIS much money…I would be happy.

But lemme just say, in an extremely cliché way:

The grass is always greener on the other side…

That’s not to say we can’t have goals, dreams, things we strive for. But we should put some boundaries on them, boundaries that remind us that achieving THIS thing or THAT thing will not bring us ultimate contentment.

For example, I’ve been in a job before that was stressful and unsatisfying. I thought, If only I could get out of this job, I can finally be happier.

That job came and went. For awhile, that was enough to elate me.

But soon, I wanted more, something different. And even now, I’m looking forward to that time when I can be a full-time author/editor at home.

Another example: A year ago, I had only been dreaming of starting my novel. I thought, If only I could start it…I’ll feel so happy. Then, it was If only I could FINISH it, I’ll be content.

Today, I’m nearly finished with the final revisions (at least for now!). That should elate me.

But already, I’m dreaming of the day when I’ll have five novels completed, the day I have an agent, the day I have a book deal, the day I’m a bestseller.

When will the “wanting” and the lack of contentment ever end?

That’s just it. I don’t think it comes naturally for us to be content. In fact, Paul said in Philippians 4 that he had found the secret to being content.

We weren’t meant to wish our lives away, constantly living in the future and not enjoying where we’re at now. But what’s an ambitious girl like me supposed to do when I have so many things I want in life, but God is saying “Wait” or “These things take time”?

I need to put that ambition to good use…I need to fight for contentment, to not let an unsatisfied spirit take hold of my heart.

But how?

So far, prayer has done wonders for me, as has Scripture and the encouragement of my husband and good friends.

I pray that God would teach ME the secret of being content. I pray that I would remember that He can use every moment, every phase of my life to teach me something, to use me to bless others.

Instead of impatiently tapping my toes or running ahead of God, I want to sit at His feet and ask Him, “What are you wanting me to learn today?”

Ironic, isn’t it?

Fighting, at least in this case, means being still.

Your Turn: Do you struggle with discontentment? How do you deal with it?

*Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

June 1, 2012

Musical Lyrics Applied to the Writing Life

Yep, that's me. As Rizzo in Grease.

For anyone who knows me, it’s no secret: I adore musicals.

I love watching them. I love singing along with them. I love dancing along with them. I love performing in them. Yep. I adore them.

I also adore writing.

So why not bring the two together?

Why not, indeed.

So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite musical lyrics applied to the writing life.

What to sing/shout from the rooftops when you don’t do well in a contest:
The sun'll come out
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There'll be sun!

Just thinkin' about
Tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs,
And the sorrow
'Til there's none!
--From Annie



A good thing for a critique partner to remember:
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way
--From Mary Poppins







The attitude to have when an agent rejects your query:
And nobody in all of Oz
No wizard (ahem…agent) that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!
--From Wicked






And finally, the mantra to repeat when you feel like giving up:
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
'Till you find your dream
--From Sound of Music

Your Turn: If you’re a writer, any musical lyrics that have inspired you on your writing journey? And anyone, what’s your favorite musical?